After purchasing three flat-screen TVs and an iPad last year, Bonnie Larrick, of Finksburg, said she was planning on taking it easy when shopping at Walmart on Gray Thursday. Taking it easy turned out to mean only buying two TVs.
Larrick was among the thousands of shoppers that descended on Carroll County stores Thursday night and Friday for deals on everything from clothes to electronics. Stores like Walmart and Target had customers waiting in lines on Thanksgiving to get some of the most sought-after items.
Larrick said she and her family were celebrating Thanksgiving on Saturday, when her kids would be coming to town. That left Thursday open for shopping, she said.
"I really don't have a lot, compared to what I've seen," she said.
Before the registers opened, Larrick said she and a friend combed the aisles and developed a strategy for grabbing items when the sales started at 6 and 8 p.m. Thursday. Black Friday, which has now developed into Gray Thursday, is fun, she said.
"The deals are great," Larrick said. "I have a fire going in the fireplace so once I get everything I need, I'm going home."
By 5 p.m., Anna Weber, of Westminster, had her cart loaded with two of everything, including griddles, food storage containers and pajama sets. The Gray Thursday purchases were a mix of gifts for family and items she said she needed at home.
"These are bargains," Weber said. "A lot of people can't afford a lot of stuff at full price so they come out tonight."
Weber said she hits the stores for Black Friday shopping most years. Last year, she said, shopping was terrible because it was so crowded.
"You couldn't even move up and down the aisles," Weber said. "It was a nightmare."
After last year's experience, Weber said she made sure Thanksgiving was wrapped up by 4 p.m. so that she could make it to the stores before it got too crowded.
"I learned my lesson last year," she said.
Tina Delaney, of Baltimore, said she occasionally goes shopping on Black Friday, but it depends on if there's anything in particular that she wants. This year, Delaney said she was on a mission to purchase two televisions and an iPad mini.
"The iPad is for me," she said. "I really wanted it and it was a great price."
Delaney needed to get to Walmart early to make sure she would get her iPad. For her, that meant skipping Thanksgiving dinner. Delaney, who was visiting family in Westminster, said she helped cook dinner with her family, then left for Walmart before eating anything.
"When I'm done shopping, I'll have dinner," Delaney said then laughed.